It is important to fill gaps left by missing teeth not only for aesthetic reasons but also to prevent strain from being put on the teeth on either side. A gap can also mean your ‘bite’ is affected because the teeth next to the space can lean into the gap and change the way the upper and lower teeth bite together. This can then lead to food getting packed into the gap, which causes tooth decay and gum disease.
There a various options to fill the gaps left and in some cases, the best option may be a bridge or a partial denture.
A dental bridge is made by putting crowns on the teeth at either side of the gap, and then joining these two crowns together by placing a false tooth in the space. This is all made in the laboratory and then the pieces are cemented into place with special adhesives. The bridge can’t be removed.
Another option is an adhesive bridge. This has ‘wings’ that are bonded to the back of the supporting teeth, with very little drilling needed.
A partial Denture is a plate with one or more false teeth on it. It may be all plastic or a mixture of metal and plastic. Both types may have clips (clasps) to help keep the denture in place in your mouth. Depending on where they are, some of these clips may show when you smile or open your mouth.
A good alternative to both Bridges and partial dentures is Dental implants which can offer a more secure solution without the need to damage the adjacent teeth.